The gospel of John an independent witness?

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Michael BG
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The gospel of John an independent witness?

Post by Michael BG » Fri May 25, 2018 4:45 am

I have C H Dodds “Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel” which sees John’s gospel as having access to separate sources from those used by the synoptic gospels. He states that the use of commons words are only those necessary to tell the same story. He states that the Old Testament testimonies are different and the author of John wouldn’t have rejected the ones used by the synoptics if he had been aware of them. However, he also states that John and Luke shared some source or sources. I have not been convinced.

After reading some of the comments in Joe Wallack’s thread “Discrediting your source GJohn as Denial of GMark” - viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1158&sid=0374bcf48a ... 76698856e5 my interest in finding clear evidence of John’s use of the synoptics was re-wakened.

Please can people state where there is evidence that John used the redaction of Mark, Matthew and Luke.

Ken Olson
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Re: The gospel of John an independent witness?

Post by Ken Olson » Fri May 25, 2018 5:46 am

This is a good question. Dodd's work, following the earlier work of Percival Gardiner-Smith (John and the Synoptics 1938), was highly influential in convincing many scholars of John's independence from the synoptics. Both works accept the form-critical presumption that the pericopes in the synoptic previously circulated as oft-repeated oral traditions with which the early Christians were familiar. If the evangelists were essentially compilers of independently-circulating pericopes about Jesus, then John would only need to have been familiar with those traditions and not with the written synoptics as well. The Passion narrative (say, from about Mark 14 on) is a special case. There the events follow in a necessary order so that scholars who favor independence typically postulate a written Passion Narrative used by Mark and John. More recently (starting around 1970, but probably dominant since 2000 or so), a majority of scholars would probably favor John's use of Mark at least in the Passion Narrative.

Redactional arguments are tricky because no one can ever prove that something is the redaction of one of the evangelists. One who doesn't want to accept that something is the work of an evangelist can always claim it was an earlier tradition which was congenial to the evangelist, so he took it over.

Probably the most important redactional argument for John's use of Mark is the intercalation of the story of Jesus' trial within the denials of Peter. John Donahue made the case for this in Are You the Christ? (1973). Intercalation (AKA the "Markan Sandwich") is a well known Markan technique which Mark uses six times (more by some counts) and the other evangelists take over in some cases. John Dominic Crossan would later take over this argument (Birth of Christianity, 1998,106), in some cases referring to it as "Markan DNA".

Frans Neirynck and Maurits Sabbe of Leuven have also advocated John's use of the synoptics in several papers published in their collected works. In several papers, Neirynck makes a redactional argument for John's use of Matthew based on the post-resurrection appearance to the women in Matthew and John. Neirynck argues that the appearance to the women in Matt 28:9-10 is Matthew's own creation from Mark 16.7 and not based on earlier tradition. Matthew makes Jesus in Matt 22.10 repeat to the women what the angel in the tomb had already said. Such creation based on Markan material, Neirynck argues, is common in Matthew. If Neirynck is correct, then Matthew must be John's source for the appearance to the women.

C.K. Barrett was one influential scholar who never accepted John's independence from the synoptics in his major commentary on John (2d ed 1978). He lays out the basic case and the parallels in his introduction. Michael Goulder criticized Barrett's approach for arguing that John knew the synoptics in his introduction, but then not making that the basis for interpreting John in his commentary on the text. Goulder was working on such a project when he died.

Andrew Lincoln's medium-length commentary on John in the Black's New Testament Commentary series (2005) does pretty much take the approach Goulder advocated.

Mark Goodacre of Duke University is currently at work on a book on John's use of the synoptics (following his earlier work on Luke's use of Matthew and Thomas's use of the synoptics).

Best,

Ken
Last edited by Ken Olson on Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Jax
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Re: The gospel of John an independent witness?

Post by Jax » Fri May 25, 2018 6:07 am

Thank you for that Ken. :cheers:

Michael BG
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Re: The gospel of John an independent witness?

Post by Michael BG » Fri May 25, 2018 4:45 pm

Ken Olson wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 5:46 am
Redactional arguments are tricky because no one can ever prove that something is the redaction of one of the evangelists. One who doesn't want to accept that something is the work of an evangelist can always claim it was an earlier tradition which was congenial to the evangelist, so he took it over.
For those who accept that Luke and Matthew had Mark as a source it should be possible to identify Lucan and Matthean redaction which John has.

An example is the official’s son catching a fever from Peter’s mother-in-law in Matthew’s gospel. John tells us the son is “at the point of death” (4:47). But later we have “So he asked them the hour when he began to mend, and they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” (4:52). In Matthew the servant is paralyzed (8:5) and in Luke he is sick at the point of death (7:2). The next story in Matthew is the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever (8:14) from Mark which Luke has much earlier (4:38-39).
Ken Olson wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 5:46 am
In several papers, Neirynck makes a redactional argument for John's use of Matthew based on the post-resurrection appearance to the women in Matthew and John. Neirynck argues that the appearance to the women in Matt 28:9-10 is Matthew's own creation from Mark 16.7 and not based on earlier tradition. Matthew makes Jesus in Matt 22.10 repeat to the women what the angel in the tomb had already said. Such creation based on Markan material, Neirynck argues, is common in Matthew. If Neirynck is correct, then Matthew must be John's source for the appearance to the women.
I also see Mt 28:9-10 as a Matthean creation, so John is using Matthew’s resurrection appearance of Jesus to the women as his base for Mary Magdalene’s Jesus appearance. There is also some limited language overlap - “go to my brethren and say to them” (Jn 20:17) from Matthew’s “go and tell my brethren” (28:9).

It is also possible to see “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him” (Jn 20:13) and “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him” (Jn 20:15) as only being there because John is aware of Matthew’s story about the body being stolen (28:11-15).
Ken Olson wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 5:46 am
Probably the most important redactional argument for John's use of Mark is the intercalation of the story of Jesus' trial within the denials of Peter. John Donahue made the case for this in Are You the Christ? (1973). Intercalation (AKA the "Markan Sandwich") is a well known Markan technique which Mark uses six times (more by some counts) and the other evangelists take over in some cases. John Dominic Crossan would later take over this argument (Birth of Christianity, 1998,106), in some cases referring to it as "Markan DNA".
As you say the appearance of the sandwiching of the Peter’s denial, which is generally recognised as Marcan redaction in John’s gospel has to be seen as important evidence that John used Mark.

Ken Olson
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Re: The gospel of John an independent witness?

Post by Ken Olson » Fri May 25, 2018 6:02 pm

Michael BG wrote:
For those who accept that Luke and Matthew had Mark as a source it should be possible to identify Lucan and Matthean redaction which John has.
This would seem to be a common sense principle and I wish more scholars accepted it. It would settle the question of John's dependence on the synoptics (and Thomas's dependence on the synoptics, and several other issues of dependence in the New Testament) if they did. Prior to the advent of from criticism in the 1920's, a whopping majority of scholars accepted John's use of the synoptics. But the rise of the form critical assumption that pericopes circulated as independent oral traditions meant that any change an evangelist made to Mark could be due to knowledge of other traditions, and if two evangelists agree in making a particular change to Mark, it could be because they both knew the same alternative tradition.

I'll give an example of how this works in another context. I was recently reading Dale Allison's commentary on the Epistle of James (2013) and was fascinated by what he wrote on the question of whether James shows knowledge of Matthew. He endorsed (and quoted) the position of Patrick Hartin in his study of James and Q:
Not only does James show an awareness of Q tradition, but he is also conscious of the way it developed within the Matthean community. James shows that he has emerged from a world which hold sacred traditions that are common to the Gospel of Matthew." (Allison, 60, citing Hartin 242-43.)
I don't believe in Q myself (I think there's plenty of examples of Matthean redaction in Luke), but let's suppose for the moment that we accept the Q hypothesis. What Hartin and Allison are saying is that where Matthew's gospel shows changes made to Q, and James shows the same changes, this is not proof that James knew Matthew, or Matthew knew James, because both of them may have known Q as it had been adapted and modified by the Matthean community at the pre-Matthew and pre-James level.

On this understanding, we can't ever show that one author knows redactional material of another author because, when one author makes a change to his source, and the other also has it, we should hypothesize they share a common source which modified the first source. You can't make a convincing redactional argument to someone who just doesn't want to be convinced.

FransJVermeiren
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Re: The gospel of John an independent witness?

Post by FransJVermeiren » Sat May 26, 2018 5:31 am

Michael BG wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 4:45 am
I have C H Dodds “Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel” which sees John’s gospel as having access to separate sources from those used by the synoptic gospels. He states that the use of commons words are only those necessary to tell the same story. He states that the Old Testament testimonies are different and the author of John wouldn’t have rejected the ones used by the synoptics if he had been aware of them. However, he also states that John and Luke shared some source or sources. I have not been convinced.
I didn’t read Dodd’s Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel and therefore I do not know his reasoning on sources shared by John and Luke. Through my own research I discovered at least one important source shared by these two gospels. I call this source ‘Jesus’ return home after his survival’. A redactor has split it in three; two parts ended up at the end of the gospel of Luke, the third at the end of the gospel of John.

The fragments involved are the following, in chronological order:
• Luke 24:13-35 – Jesus’ apparition on the road to Emmaus (with verses 19b-27 interpolated)
• John 21:1-13 – Jesus’ apparition at the Sea of Galilee
• Luke 24:36-43 – An apparition of Jesus to the disciples.

The story as a whole reports on Jesus’ return to his home region after his escape from Jerusalem at the end of the war. He reaches Hammath (= Ammaus = Emmaus) 2,5 km south of Tiberias in the afternoon, and rejoins his friends at the Sea of Galilee the next morning. The reunited story (minus the interpolation) has nothing supernatural. Did the redactor interpolate a summary of the passion narrative (verses 19b-27) and break the story apart to obscure its earthly course of events?
Last edited by FransJVermeiren on Sun May 27, 2018 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Charles Wilson
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Re: The gospel of John an independent witness?

Post by Charles Wilson » Sat May 26, 2018 7:40 am

Luke 24: 13 - 35 (RSV):

[13] That very day two of them were going to a village named Emma'us, about seven miles from Jerusalem,
[14] and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
[15] While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
[16] But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
[17] And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad.
[18] Then one of them, named Cle'opas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?"
[19] And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
[20] and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
[21] But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened.
[22] Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning
[23] and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
[24] Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see."
[25] And he said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
[26] Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"
[27] And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
[28] So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further,
[29] but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them.
[30] When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them.
[31] And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.
[32] They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?"
[33] And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them,
[34] who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"
[35] Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

John 21: 1 - 13 (RSV):

[1] After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tibe'ri-as; and he revealed himself in this way.
[2] Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathan'a-el of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zeb'edee, and two others of his disciples were together.
[3] Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing.
[4] Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
[5] Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any fish?" They answered him, "No."
[6] He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish.
[7] That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea.
[8] But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
[9] When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread.
[10] Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught."
[11] So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.
[12] Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord.
[13] Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish.

Luke 24: 36 - 43 (RSV):

[36] As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them.
[37] But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit.
[38] And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts?
[39] See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have."
[41] And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"
[42] They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
[43] and he took it and ate before them.

Michael BG
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Re: The gospel of John an independent witness?

Post by Michael BG » Sat May 26, 2018 8:01 am

Ken Olson wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 6:02 pm
Michael BG wrote:
For those who accept that Luke and Matthew had Mark as a source it should be possible to identify Lucan and Matthean redaction which John has.
This would seem to be a common sense principle and I wish more scholars accepted it. It would settle the question of John's dependence on the synoptics (and Thomas's dependence on the synoptics, and several other issues of dependence in the New Testament) if they did.



I don't believe in Q myself (I think there's plenty of examples of Matthean redaction in Luke), but let's suppose for the moment that we accept the Q hypothesis. What Hartin and Allison are saying is that where Matthew's gospel shows changes made to Q, and James shows the same changes, this is not proof that James knew Matthew, or Matthew knew James, because both of them may have known Q as it had been adapted and modified by the Matthean community at the pre-Matthew and pre-James level.

On this understanding, we can't ever show that one author knows redactional material of another author because, when one author makes a change to his source, and the other also has it, we should hypothesize they share a common source which modified the first source. You can't make a convincing redactional argument to someone who just doesn't want to be convinced.
Of course you are correct some people’s views cannot be changed. This is a particular problem where the person accepts a source which we don’t have. For example it would be difficult to convince me that Matthew and Luke only had one shared source - Mark and that there was no “Q” material common to both. (The discussion would have to be focused on opinions of which is the earliest version of a pericope.)

With regard to John’s gospel I do think it is possible that John used all three Synoptics and I would like to consider the evidence that he did. From your earlier post it seems I might have to wait for Mark Goodacre’s book to come out. What I should have done was go to Oxford to listen to his four lectures back in 2017. :D

Ken Olson
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Re: The gospel of John an independent witness?

Post by Ken Olson » Sat May 26, 2018 8:52 am

Crossan, Who Killed Jesus? (1996) p.102:
Crossan Who Killed Jesus 102.png
Crossan Who Killed Jesus 102.png (205.73 KiB) Viewed 7267 times
Most of the subchapter on Markan Literary Fingerprints (pp. 100-105) can be read in the Amazon preview for the book.

Ken Olson
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Re: The gospel of John an independent witness?

Post by Ken Olson » Sat May 26, 2018 8:56 am

Crossan, Birth of Christianity (1998) p. 106:
Crossan Birth 106a.png
Crossan Birth 106a.png (154.45 KiB) Viewed 7264 times
The whole section (pp. 105-107) can be read in the Amazon preview for the book.

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